Roya Hakakian on Iran's Jewish Community

Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center on October 22, 2014, author Roya Hakakian describes the existential threats faced by Iran's Jews since the establishment of the Islamic Republic. Analyzing a meeting between Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and representatives of the Iranian Jewish community in 1979, Hakakian demonstrates that Khomeini's distinction between Iranian Jews and Zionists spared the community from attack by Islamic revolutionaries. Yet despite professed policies of tolerance toward Jews, Hakakian illustrates how Iran's theocratic government has systematically repressed Jews and other religious minorities. Seeing past the regime's use of the Jewish community to deflect accusations of anti-Semitism, Hakakian explains: "Nothing is more telling about Iran and the regime's conduct than the way it has dealt with the Jewish community since 1979."

Watch Tavaana's exclusive interview with Roya Hakakian

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